Bernie Healy is Chaplaincy Coordinator for All Saints Catholic High School. She is accompanying a group of CAFOD young climate bloggers. Here she talks about the joys and challenges of enabling her group of young people to campaign on climate and explains why the young climate bloggers training week end was like stepping back to her childhood!
My name is Bernie and I am a Chaplaincy Coordinator for a secondary school ‘up North’! I’ve been in this role for the last seven or eight years, time goes so fast it could be even longer.
In September of last year I introduced CAFOD’s One Climate, One World campaign to the school. I asked every form to think of something that would be affected by the climate if we don’t act now. The results were fantastic and we created a heart to display of all the things we love and don’t want to lose.
The start of the journey
So why am I writing a blog? I decided to take up CAFOD’s invite and get our students involved in their climate change campaign and be young climate bloggers and vloggers. (I did have to ask what a vlog was!)
Getting students to commit to something at times can be a hard slog but having prayer as my weapon, everything falls into place, eventually. Seven volunteers came forward, three year eleven girls, two year ten boys, a year nine boy and a year eight boy. Unfortunately, one person dropped out so this left me with half a dozen very keen students.
Young climate bloggers training week-end ‒ stepping back in time
Like them, I had no idea what to expect on our residential at the Othona Community. It was like stepping back in time to when I was young. Being brought up in the sixties in a very large family we had no dishwasher, no central heating, no fridge, no car ‒ lots of things we take for granted today. It was like being at home all those years ago ‒ apart from the cold! When I think about it, my carbon footprint in the sixties must have been touching zero.
The residential hit home to me and our students how much damage we are doing to the environment, and in turn affecting climate change not only here but around the world. We can’t say any one weather event is down to climate change, but it is making weather more extreme and unpredictable. Where I live we were hit by terrible floods about eight years ago. People lost their livelihoods, their homes and some lost their lives. It didn’t take long for us to rebuild the city but in developing countries when a cyclone or similar hits it has devastating effects for years and years, sometimes never recovering.
Our Lenten cross
Our CAFOD climate bloggers want to get a message across to all the students in our school that the smallest positive thing they do, multiplied by 1400 (number of students in our school) will have an impact on the climate for the better.
This Lent we have made a Lenten cross. Originally this was going to be made with lots of household waste, but a very kind DIY shop gave us lots of wood and broken tiles that were going to be dumped so the cross has been made from these items. Any ideas for what I should do with all the plastic cartons and polystyrene that have piled up in my office will be greatly appreciated!
Over the next few months our students will be interviewing an MP or two, showing you how the Lenten Cross was made and maybe even vlogging how it will be used in our Lenten liturgies. So do keep your eyes and ears open and read our blog.
What I’ve gained from accompanying the young climate bloggers
Since being involved with CAFOD’s young bloggers it has given me a much bigger awareness on how I live my life and how much more I could be doing to protect the world we live in.